Hactivism, 3D printing, the idea of a new industrial revolution – all of this will be familiar to anyone with an interest in design and technology (and particularly to anyone who’s been to a design conference in the past couple of years). But a new show at London’s Design Museum, The Future Is Here, takes these terms and ideas – thrown about often quite loosely – and makes a real effort to explain and engage with them in a remarkably practical, interesting and effective way.
So there’s examples of what 3D printing can do, an in-depth look at customisation and considerations about how social networking, nanotechnology and open-source computing via the likes of Rasberry Pi and the Arduino circuit board will affect the future of design and manufacture, from houses and cars to shoes and toys.
There’s some interesting infographics looking at people’s perceptions of the future and the pace of technological change, a great demonstration of robotic arms building a wooden puzzle and a “factory” of cutting-edge machines, manned by previously inexperienced Design Museum staff, where you can actually watch a laser cutter or a 3D printer in action.
The design, by Lucienne Roberts+ and drMM, is excellent, bringing this complex and wide-ranging show to life with clarity and flair – the was/is neon sign that changes as per the video below is a particularly nice touch. All in all this is not just the Design Museum at its best – taking important design discourse and introducing it to the general public in a very tangible way – but there’s also more than enough to interest those who feel quite jaded with this whole topic.
The Future Is Here runs until October 29.